Tuesday, August 22, 2017

[Entomology • 2017] Pyrophleps ellawi • A New Species of Wasp-mimicking Clearwing Moth (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae) from Peninsular Malaysia with DNA Barcode and Behavioural Notes


 Pyrophleps ellawi Skowron Volponi, 2017

Figure 1. Pyrophleps ellawi has a strong blue sheen in sunlight. Representatives of this species vary in the number of orange scales on the thorax. The scales form two longitudinal stripes, either dashed or solid.

Abstract
A new species of clearwing moth, Pyrophleps ellawi Skowron Volponi, sp. n., is described from Peninsular Malaysia. Information on the habitat, time and conditions of occurrence, flight and mud-puddling behaviour, functional morphology, and DNA barcode are also provided. Photographs and a supplementary video from the wild demonstrate the postures and behaviour of this species of Pyrophleps, whose remaining members were described only on the basis of pinned specimens. This is the first record of this genus in Peninsular Malaysia.

Keywords: Sesiidae, clearwing moth, Pyrophleps ellawi, mimicry, mud-puddling, behaviour, Malaysia


Figure 3. Male holotype of Pyrophleps ellawi.

Diagnosis: The new species is superficially most similar to Pyrophleps vitripennis, from which it can easily be distinguished by the configuration of male genitalia (compare Fig. 4 herein with Arita and Gorbunov 2000, fig. 6), presence of hair-like scales on labial palpi (smoothly scaled in species compared), presence of orange hair-like scales on fore- and mid tibiae and lack of orange scales on wings, broader external transparent area of forewing. Apart from morphological features, P. ellawi shows 8% COI sequence divergence from P. vitripennis (Table 1). Based on genitalia configuration, this species is most similar to P. nigripennis. However, it differs in the shape of the valva and gnathos. Besides that, it can immediately be distinguished by the well-developed transparent areas of forewing (compare Fig. 3 herein with Arita and Gorbunov 2000, fig. 8), narrow discal spot on hindwing and by the colouration of the hind leg tuft (extensive red both externally, on tibia, and internally, on tibiae and tarsi, in P. nigripennis). From P. ruficrista it differs in more developed forewing ATA and PTA and less developed ETA and in the hind leg tuft (cinnabar red with two black spots and patches of blue scales in P. ruficrista). From P. cruentata, P. haematochrodes , P. cucphuonganae and P. bicella, it can be distinguished by the entirely transparent hindwings and absence of red scales on wings and abdomen.

Figure 1. Pyrophleps ellawi has a strong blue sheen in sunlight. Representatives of this species vary in the number of orange scales on the thorax. The scales form two longitudinal stripes, either dashed or solid. 

Figure 2. Pyrophleps ellawi puddling on a river bank. Note the curled-up hind leg tarsi.

Etymology: The species is named after our dear friend El Law, a dedicated conservation activist with sincere sensibility for Malaysian nature who, over the years of our studies on Malaysian Sesiidae, offered us his help in countless aspects.

Distribution and habitat: In addition to the type locality, the species is known also from the Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia, where it was observed and filmed in two locations approx. 50 km from each other. All observations were done on sandy and pebble river banks exposed to sunlight, in a lowland dipterocarp forest (Fig. 5)

Figure 5. Habitat of Pyrophleps ellawi: sandy/pebble river banks in a lowland dipterocarp forest, Malaysia.

Conclusion: 
The new wasp-mimicking species of Sesiidae, Pyrophleps ellawi, represents the first record of the genus Pyrophleps in Peninsular Malaysia and the first filmed in the wild. The video realized in its habitat provided valuable information on its authentic habitus, functional morphology, and behaviour.


 Marta Skowron Volponi and Paolo Volponi. 2017. A New Species of Wasp-mimicking Clearwing Moth from Peninsular Malaysia with DNA Barcode and Behavioural Notes (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae). ZooKeys. 692: 129-139.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.692.13587


1 comment:

  1. Please see the supplementary video attached to this article at https://vimeo.com/230445159. It shows the behaviour of this new species in its natural habitat.

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